A new proposal for the downtown Minneapolis riverfront, the Falls Park and Visitor Center (above) seems to be gathering momentum. However, a 20-plus-years-old effort to build a hydroelectric power plant in this area has re-emerged. Image courtesy of VJAA.
Crown Hydro is continuing their decades-old effort to locate a hydroelectric facility at Upper St. Anthony Falls on the west bank of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. In spite of major objections from the city, the park board, the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service, the company’s most recent attempt to secure a necessary license amendment from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is making progress.
In early September, the regulatory commission released a draft environmental assessment finding "no significant environmental effect." After several organizations, including FMR, complained about not having sufficient time to review and comment on this unexpected and highly technical proposal, the public comment period was extended by 30 days through November 2, 2016.
Many local stakeholders and organizations are disappointed in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's finding. “Hundreds of people and groups have expressed concerns about the Crown Project for years,” lamented local activist and organizer Lisa Hondros, “and yet FERC seems poised to grant a license to a project that has almost zero public support.”